de Stijl’n in den Haag

After two and a half weeks in the Netherlands we have reached the point where I am saying “we leave next weekend, there’s still so much to do!”.

I was keen to head back to Amsterdam, but we couldn’t see how it could fit into other things. Then, out of the blue, Angela and Martin to the unintended rescue (again) when they called on Saturday morning and said “We are heading to Amsterdam tonight for beer tasting, want a ride?”.

Their event was a private thing, but that was perfect as it meant we had a few hours to just wander, which we certainly did.

Amsterdam really is a beautiful city. Nothing needs to be added to create a great vibe.

This wall, outside a museum, had panels from 17th century buildings embedded. See if you can figure out the occupation of the residents.

If you guessed that the CCTV camera represented a spy, you may be right.

Jump back to the map and at the bottom you will see an area called Spui, which is a sort of square surrounded by restaurants and bars. With the backdrop of the old buildings and it being a beautiful evening, it was just delightful sitting having a beer and people watching.

No matter where you walk, there is another gorgeous view.

They weren’t dummies in the 17th century. If you had a 3 story building with a hoist at the top and front it made sense to not have your goods banging into the wall. So as well as the beam hanging out, buildings also leaned forward. It all looks a bit wonky, but adds to the charm.

The buildings, and therefore the bars, are narrow and cool…

with a huge range of beers.

Let’s move on from Amsterdam.

I know I rattle on about bikes, but this is the sort of bike parking that is provided.

Time to catch up with Jeroen and Margot – I won’t explain the pronounciation, suffice to say it isn’t how you read it in English. They are some more old friends of the Tall One, so we ride (of course) to den Haag (The Hague) and start with the Kuntsmuseum (with a K!) that houses some wonderful surprises.

For a start, there is a large collection of Mondrian works and other artists exploring the new De Stijl movement.

But what really grabbed me was a huge collection of Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests I suggest exploring the link, but to see them in real life was a treat indeed.

They even had some that you can play with.

The only thing that would be better would be to see Theo trialling one in the wild at the local beach. Jeroen has…lucky bugger.

Oh, and there were also works by van Gogh, Picasso, Rodin, Monet..you know, all the European favourites.

But it gets better. We head back to Margot and Jeroen’s house and it is in a 100 year old block designed by Jan Wils during the De Stijl era. This is a notable historic building and has several books written about it. Apparently Mondrian designed the fireplace and some internal doors, and it looks like it.

Of course we then settled down to a typical afternoon “snack”.

There was also plenty of discussion about music, and of course, art.

Later we ride back to Wassener, which should be fun, it is raining.

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